An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Ten Commandments, The

The commands, also known as the decalogue or Ten Words, given by God at Sinai in connection with the making of the covenant (Ex 20:1-17). Another slightly different version appears in the extended homily Moses delivers shortly before the entrance of the Hebrews into the Promised Land (Dt. 5:6-21). The Sinai version precedes the large collection of laws also associated with the Mosaic covenant. The Ten Commandments form the fundamental law of God for Israel and concern the cult (no other gods, no images, no misuse of God's name, observance of the Sabbath) as well as social relations (honor of parents, no killing, no adultery, no false witness, no coveting). Unlike the case law of the OT, where an offense is followed by its punishment, the Ten Commandments are categorical. Some religious communities differ from the numbering of the Ten Commandments in Anglican and reformed traditions, but agree in the content. In the NT both Jesus (Mk 10:17-22 and parallel passages) and Paul (Rom 13:8-10) affirm their continuing validity.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.